Rich Stories of Healing and Community Involvement Abound – and Will Grace the Hospital Walls

Posted 7 July 2015 8:18 AM by TCAuthor3

By Dorothy Erdmann, CEO, Shawano Medical Center

The “human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor,” said a very wise man, Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and researcher at New York University. His observations about the workings of the human brain got me thinking about health care. We constantly juggle the relentless needs of reporting statistics, calibrating doses, and crunching numbers, with the softer, kinder, warmer side of our jobs. This is something I see every day – caring, nursing and nurturing moments that we remember and repeat to others.

Both types of interaction are essential to our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve. Together with charts and graphs and government reports, there are rich stories to be told. These are stories about the powerful healing effects labor and delivery nurses, doctors who spend time carefully explaining procedures, well-prepared trauma transport and care, and community-wide exercise initiatives. You will be able to experience pictures like these by visiting the 22 storyboards that will be installed throughout the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano this month. (They’ll be available for public viewing at our opening in September.)

What data doesn’t disclose fully enough, stories and pictures do, and our communications team has been collecting them from our own friends and neighbors. Here’s a sneak peek at the ways our people and our entire healthcare network have helped to improve the health, and the spirit, of the people we serve:

  • Meet Maria, a mother of four who needed to find a new hospital close to home that offered expert and warmly caring birthing services. As a farm family with three young children, time was always tight for appointments, yet she relished every one. I love one of her quotes to which so many women and mothers can relate: “I’m not used to being the center of attention.” Yet she was, at Shawano Medical Center, and appreciated an entirely new level of care she had yet to experience in her childbearing years.
  • Meet Clarence, a farmer from Leopolis, whose pain had become too severe to ignore. He had colon cancer that required surgery, but in the midst of this crisis, he was learning about the procedure through long conversations, sketches, and plenty of questions between him, his surgeon, and his primary care provider. Of his surgeon, he told us, “So many doctors just give you the technical, and move on, so she was wonderful.”
  • Learn about Jess, who suffered an injured femur, ACL, ankle and two vertebrae in a motorcycle crash. “Sometimes when you come from a rural area that doesn’t have top-notch medical facilities nearby, you can feel isolated. But I was lucky to have the hospital at Shawano,” she said. Jess was ultimately airlifted by ThedaStar to the Trauma Center at Theda Clark in Neenah to best care for her complex orthopedic injuries. She is on a new road, to recovery.
  • There’s a story about our investment in the larger community through ThedaCare’s support of Shawano Pathways, the biking and walking trails that now safely connect Shawano parks and most schools to our streets and neighborhoods. We believe in encouraging and enabling increased physical activity for our friends and neighbors as a beneficial route to better health.